Faith is a Rest

A Biblical definition of faith

The gospel declares God’s grace comes through faith. So if you wanted to undermine the gospel, there are two ways you could do it:

1. attack grace – put price tags on it or obscure it by referring to it as a mere “doctrine”
2. attack faith – either make it a work or diminish it, belittle it

I usually talk about grace, but today I want to talk about faith because grace without faith is worthless:

For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. (Hebrews 4:2)

The gospel is true whether you believe it or not but it won’t benefit you unless you believe it.

For instance, if you don’t believe Jesus has forgiven you, you won’t walk in his forgiveness. And if you don’t believe that in Christ you are already holy and acceptable, you will feel pressure to make yourself holy and acceptable.

Faith does not compel God to forgive us or sanctify us. Faith doesn’t make God do anything. Rather, faith is a positive response to what God has done. Faith is acknowledging every good thing that is already ours in Christ (2 Pet 1:3).

Faith doesn’t make things real that weren’t real to begin with, but faith makes them real to you.

For instance, if you battle with guilt and condemnation, you don’t need Jesus to come and take away your sin. You need to believe he already did. Jesus is the cure for guilt, but until you believe it, you won’t be cured.

Faith is being persuaded

Why am I saying this? Because there is a teaching going around that says, “Everyone is saved whether they believe it or not.”

Never mind that the apostles preached, “Believe and be saved” (Acts 16:31, Rom 10:9). Suddenly, encouraging people to “repent and believe the good news,” as Jesus did, is politically incorrect. It’s discrimination. It’s putting barrier gates in front of the kingdom.

Perhaps you’ve heard this: “Believing is a work and grace and works don’t mix.”

What a strange thing to say. It’s like saying “grace and faith don’t mix” or “grace comes through unbelief.” I wouldn’t waste your time with this but I’m hearing this a lot. Maybe you are too. So how do we respond? What does the Bible say?

Now we who have believed enter that rest…. (Hebrews 4:3)

Faith is not work, faith is a rest. Faith is a noun, not a verb. Faith is being persuaded that God is who he says he is, has done what he said he’s done, and will do what he has promised to do. Consider Abraham, who…

…did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:20-21)

Faith is being fully persuaded. When you are fully persuaded, you can rest. The issue is settled. Your mind is made up and your heart is at ease.

We are creatures of persuasion. We are designed to operate from our convictions.

Either you will be convinced that Jesus is true or you won’t be. If you’re not convinced, you will waver and stagger in indecision but don’t panic. The Holy Spirit is here to convince you about Jesus so you can be persuaded and enter his rest.

This is what the Holy Spirit does – he points us to the Prince of Peace so that we may find peace for our weary souls.

Unbelief is a work

When you have seen the beauty of Jesus, faith comes easily. Unbelief is the harder choice. To fold your arms and lock your jaw as the goodness of God assails you from every direction requires real commitment.

Unbelief is not passive ignorance. Unbelief is hardening your heart to the manifest goodness of God. Unbelief is cursing that which God has blessed and hating that which he loves. Unbelief is resisting the Holy Spirit and clinging to worthless idols (Acts 7:51, 14:15, 19:9).

I am not talking about people who haven’t heard the gospel. I’m talking about those who encountered the love and grace of God and have rejected it. Instead of opening the door to the One who knocks (easy), they’ve locked it, pushed the chairs and table up against it, and shuttered the windows (hard). Instead of reclining at the table of his abundance (easy), they’re scrounging for food in the pig pen (hard).

Look at how unbelief is described in the New Testament and you will find plenty of verbs or action words.

Unbelief is rejecting Jesus (John 3:36) and denying the Lord (Jude 1:4). It’s thrusting away the word of God and judging yourself unworthy of life (Acts 13:46). It’s suppressing the truth (Rom 1:18) and delighting in wickedness (2 Th 2:12). It’s turning away (Heb 12:25), going astray (2 Pet 2:15), and trampling the Son of God underfoot (Heb 10:29).

And how does Jesus describe unbelievers? As evildoers and workers of iniquity (Matt 7:23).

It takes hard work to succeed as an unbeliever. You need to apply yourself with religious dedication. It’s a life-time commitment with no days off. You cannot afford to drop your guard even for a moment lest Jesus might sneak up and hug you.

If faith is a rest, unbelief is restlessness. It’s wandering in search of what God has already provided:

And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:18-19, KJV)

Faith is a gift

There are two ways to get this faith-thing wrong: (1) tell people they must work to prove their faith or (2) tell them they need no faith at all. The first is the message of graceless religion, the second is the message of faithless philosophy.

In contrast to both, the gospel declares that the faith you need God will provide. Indeed, the gift of grace comes wrapped in faith (Rom 10:17).

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30)

In a world of heavy burdens, Grace comes offering rest. Unbelief says, “Leave me alone, I’m busy.” But faith responds, “Rest, you say? I’ll have some of that, thank you very much!”

For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest (Hebrews 4:10-11)

The gospel is not an invitation to pick up tools, but to drop them. It’s not a job advertisement, but a holiday. It’s not a day of work; it’s a day of rest.

Grace declares, “It is finished, the work is done,” and faith responds, “Thank you, Jesus!”

Faith is not something you must do or manufacture. Faith is resting in the restful persuasion that God is at rest and in him so are we.


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108 Comments on Faith is a Rest

  1. Hi. Paul if faith is a gift of God and is not of yourself Eph2 8 ,then why can’t God give this faith to everyone in this lifetime ,?seems very unfair .thanks

    • If you see the sun rise in the morning, who gets credit for making the sun rise? God, for making the sun rise, or you, for seeing it? It’s like that with grace. If you can see it with eyes of faith while others cannot, who gets the credit? You, for seeing what is plain as day, or God, who gives us both grace and the eyes with which to see it? The question is not why God only gives faith to some, but why some walk around with their eyes shut in the daytime.

      • Paul I’m not sure if you got my last comment…

      • Yes, I did. It’s at the top of this thread.

      • Kristian E. Megahan // May 1, 2016 at 5:09 pm //

        I agree that it takes action/work to keep your eyes closed to the reality that’s all around you, none for your eyes to be opened, except on God’s part. Now where in scripture does it talk about letting Jesus in?

      • Kristian, the scriptures for this can be found in the search box. Or rather under Resources at the top, then Teaching Resources, then Inclusionism.

    • reynante reyla // August 22, 2013 at 10:53 am // Reply

      bro,what can you say about the people who have no the ability or capacity to believe?

    • Draydon, read Romans 9:10-24.b

    • Warren (South Carolina, USA) // May 2, 2016 at 2:22 pm // Reply

      Romans 12:3 tells us “God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” KJV. This indicates there is only one measure of faith, and that He (God) has given us the same faith Jesus has.
      Warren (South Carolina, USA)

  2. Cindy Wittstock // August 15, 2013 at 1:31 am // Reply

    Thanks for this post Paul. Very timely! Have seen many become confused & even depressed with this wrong thinking that Faith or Belief are not necessary & that “everyone is saved, they just don’t know it”. It seems that usually these are people who started out having a revelation of the Gospel of Grace but kept hearing unhelpful teaching and reading incorrect opinions of people, loving & friendly as they are, but claiming to have re-written the Bible as a ‘grace’ translation. The law has cut in on them again and they don’t realize it, works & performance again becoming the subtle poisonous concoction luring them away from true Love. I trust your post will be a life-line to many.

  3. John Goddard // August 15, 2013 at 1:36 am // Reply

    Outstanding..thank you for this. Newly back to Christ, I have struggled with faith as something it seemed I ought to be “doing” or doing “better.”. This blessed me very much!

  4. Paul – I’ve never seen anyone write on this question: Since there is only one God and one Spirit, why is it that men, claiming they are under the guidance of God, come up with scores or hundreds of versions of The Gospel, each one claiming to be right? And each one claiming that any of us can “Just read the Bible. The Truth is there and is clear and easy to understand.” I’ve never seen anyone write about a clear and satisfying explanation as to why this is so. I would think that God would cut through all the static and see that believers all believe the same thing. If the answer were, “Well, there’s sin in the world and makes us misunderstand The Gospel.”, that answer isn’t satisfying. I hope you will consider this theological problem worth considering and writing on. I’m asking you because I have developed trust for your writings. Do you get tired of people thanking you for your writings? I’ll bet you do. But, I want to stand in line and thank you sincerely. It would not be possible for me to convey adequately my gratitude for your work. It helps me immensely with the most important work that goes on in my life. The only work that is the work God requires of me. Yet it is hard work and I do need help from people like you. The work of believing what is really True about everything. Likewise I’m helping others, which is great fun and purpose.

  5. When you have seen the beauty of Jesus, faith comes easily. Unbelief is the harder choice. To fold your arms and lock your jaw as the goodness of God assails you from every direction requires real commitment.

    I’d rather have faith no matter what anyone believes.

  6. Excellent! I do understand that some of us make faith into a work–I did it for years, but faith was not bad, it was my misunderstanding of faith that was the problem. I don’t FAITH (verb) well enough to qualify for God’s blessings. I have Faith (noun) as a gift because I am one with the Source of faith. If I’m not resting, feeling faithless, it’s good to know that He remains faithful and will help my unbelief. My biggest question to the folks who seem so adamant that belief or faith is unnecessary is, “If it doesn’t matter what we believe, why is it so important to you that I change the way I believe?”

  7. Awesome!

  8. Phillip Waite // August 15, 2013 at 2:49 am // Reply

    While I have gleaned some things from you Paul, I disagree respectfully.
    I find faith not a positive response, but a gift that comes through Christ. Those who respond positively, are the ones possibly without faith. Those born of the Spirit are faithful.
    How do you explain the difference between those that believe and have faith, and those that believe and do not have faith. Even satan believes. What is it that those who have believing faith, do differently. They all appear to respond positively. But not all are born of the Spirit.
    You believe not, because you are not of my sheep. Not everyone is of his flock. They do not hear his voice. Did you believe because you are one of his sheep?
    Unbelief is not a choice. That’s like saying you chose to be born. You were born a sinner in unbelief. There is not one good, not one.

    • I know this will upset a few apple-carts, but I don’t think babies and children are born hard-hearted towards God. They go astray and harden their hearts. This is a choice, maybe not a conscious choice, but a choice nonetheless. It is responding negatively to the manifest goodness of God.

      Babies are not bad-to-the-bone, hell-bound wretches. They are good gifts from a good God. (Hmm. Don’t get me started on this topic. It’s something I feel passionately about.)

    • Having faith and being faithful are two different things. Having faith is putting your trust & hope in Jesus. Acting faithfully is how we respond after we have been redeemed. Saving faith is placing your trust-hope in what Jesus did and who He is. Someone can believe in something but not trust in it. That is the kind of belief that the demons have. Example- I “believe” that Obama is my president but I do not have “faith” that he can do a good job at it. Faith causes someone to be born of the Spirit but a superficial “belief”, aka mental assent, results in someone trying the Christian life but then falling back to their natural unrenewed/unredeemed state.

      • Carol S // May 11, 2017 at 9:30 am //

        No one has mentioned James 2:14-26…Faith, without works is dead. Also, Hebrews 11:6, But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

    • While I have gleaned some things from you Paul, I disagree respectfully. I find faith not a positive response, but a gift that comes through Christ. Those who respond positively, are the ones possibly without faith. Those born of the Spirit are faithful.
      How do you explain the difference between those that believe and have faith, and those that believe and do not have faith. Even satan believes. What is it that those who have believing faith, do differently. They all appear to respond positively. But not all are born of the Spirit. You believe not, because you are not of my sheep. Not everyone is of his flock. They do not hear his voice. Did you believe because you are one of his sheep? Unbelief is not a choice. That’s like saying you chose to be born. You were born a sinner in unbelief. There is not one good, not one.

  9. GOOD TIMING PAUL. A word spoken at a time in need.

  10. “Unwrap the gift of grace and you are left with faith lying all over the place.”
    “You cannot afford to drop your guard even for a moment or Jesus might sneak up and hug you”

  11. Paul, you always show me the clearest point of view to see Jesus. I love you.

  12. Taylor Qualls // August 15, 2013 at 4:16 am // Reply

    I have one question about Hebrews 10 (and I know that Jesus says something similar). It says to make every effort to enter into rest, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Could you possibly help shed some light on that?

    • That is one of the most brilliant passages on faith in the Bible. We grow up walking by sight, not faith. The doctor gives us a negative report and our natural response is fear and anxiety. It takes conscious effort to remain in the place of trusting God.

  13. Thank you, Paul, for such an incisive discussion of this subject. You present the gospel so clearly. I think it takes work to say that faith isn’t involved in receiving the grace of God. Because it seems so clear in scripture I think many then decide to question the scriptures or maybe do their own translation in order to have it say what they want it to say. So thank you for giving a clear discussion of “grace through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

  14. Brilliantly thought out and written. I especially like these ones: “To fold your arms and lock your jaw as the goodness of God assails you from every direction requires real commitment.” And, Unbelief says, “Leave me alone, I’m busy.” But faith responds, “Rest, you say? I’ll have some of that, thank you very much!”

  15. June Atherton // August 15, 2013 at 7:26 am // Reply

    Your gentle, godly wisdom and teaching has a ring of authenticity and grace filled authority. I praise our God and LORD Jesus for your ministry. The light of His love shine on you continually!
    June A.

  16. This! 🙂

    Thanks, Paul, for another great post.

  17. Amen Paul. Let us only strive for one thing: to enter into the rest HE has already made possible!

  18. Enjoyed your teaching. You and your ministry are growing stronger in grace everyday. Also the teachings you post only becomes better and better. Healthy, sound and Biblical!

  19. I agree that faith is a rest but what I don’t understand is, if it is not a work, why is it that when you go to church, the pastors/leaders/elders try to load you up with things to do…give, serve, grow. They don’t force a person but they really push it on people to give a tenth of their income every Sunday, join the church, serve on missions teams etc. How does a person ever get the message that faith is a rest if all the institutional church leaders who are supposed to know God and the bible the best are always trying to get people to do things instead of rest. It seems so contradictory! I don’t get it!

    • Tricia, i would give the benefit of the doubt and say encouragement,but it sounds to much like fear,to induce guilt or works.I dont know, hopefully its encouragement.

    • John Goddard // August 16, 2013 at 9:46 am // Reply

      Tricia, I think it’s because there is a big difference between the leadership styles and abilities of God (faith=rest) and leadership of the church by men…encouraging activity though I think is healthy, including encouraging generosity (but putting an amount like 10% on it is in my view not what God intends). If the goal is to have you do these things to bring you closer to God and that is the result–then wonderful. If the goal is just to keep you busy and raise funds, then not so good 🙂

    • Squawks 5000 // July 25, 2018 at 6:14 am // Reply

      As a veteran Christian, somehow, walking in God’s rest results in those giving/outreach because we trust in the Holy Spirit on our walk. Notice how this is different from justification.

      Jesus didn’t die just so I can go to heaven — he died so that I can be free from sin and have an abundant life. The more we walk with Jesus, the more we naturally want to do these things.

  20. Wow, Thank You Paul for this Blog post, I was directed to you by the Grace Station. Thank you for your ministry of bringing the truth of God’s Grace and Jesus to people.

    God Bless

  21. Great work as always, Paul! I believe God is speaking to a lot of people to aid in getting rid of the “grace alone” movement that has become so prevalent. It’s all about grace AND faith. 🙂

  22. Everyone is already SAVED – all they need to do is believe on the ONE who SAVED them!!!

  23. so if grace is given because of faith and its not of yourself at all ,(eph 2,8)and you need faith to believe which is also God given ,and in Hebrews 11 1 the definition of faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not SEEN,and you are telling me people have there eyes closed to the truth of God.How is it there fault,? God has to give faith which leads to belief which in turn is his grace for salvation ,this is all from God and not of yourself.So I revert back to my original question ,how is this fair and why dish out on non believers if God is the giver of faith to believe.

    • So you’re saying God is responsible for unbelievers’ unbelief?

    • I love this question from Draydon. It seems in my heart that for us to identify apparent inconsistencies in theology and bring them to light and either solve them or at least know that they are their, believing that an answer will come eventually. But being aware of the likely consistency. I think this is very good for our search. I commend you, Draydon, for being sharp to ask this very good question. I don’t have the answer but I hope Paul or someone does.

      • kind of like a archaeologist,they see something sticking out of the ground, start to uncover it and begin to see what it is,simple, but hey i can be that way. kinda like finding the pearl of great value.

    • draydon, God offers the gift of faith to all men. the Holy Spirit, who convicts the world of sin, is also the minister of the gift of faith that is needed to believe in Christ. if an unbeliever rejects the Spirit’s proclamation of God’s love and goodness towards him, he is – at the same time – also rejecting the gift of faith that he needs to believe in Christ and be saved
      God’s Spirit has been on earth since before man was created (gen 1:2) – ministering the gift of faith to believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him (hebrews chapter 11)

  24. Phillip Waite // August 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm // Reply

    “Through” faith, and “not of yourselves”‘ less anyone should boast. Everyone whom believes was given a measure of faith, the faith “of” Christ. Think of hearing the Gospel, in one amazing moment, being apprehended, through faith, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Then apprehending Christ “by” faith, that you have already received. The gift of Christ comes through faith, a measure given. Then we can boast in him, not ourselves.

  25. Yes your correct ,and what you are saying is that it is your willpower or something you have done is your reason for your belief ,which contradicts your article that God gives faith for us to believe and also eph 2v8 that its not of ourselves.What I see in your article is that it’s the unbelievers fault that they don,t believe,there is a form of boasting from the article ,and also from your reply to me as how can unbelievers be so stupid , talking about people walking around with there eyes closed .So what is faith ,God given or not and if it is,how is this fair on the unbeliever.

    • I have never heard anyone blame God for the choices of those who reject him. Fascinating. But don’t you think this picture is at odds with a God who loves all men (John 3:16), has revealed grace to all men (Tit 2:11), now draws all men (John 12:32), is not willing that any perish (2 Pet 3:9), and commands all men to repent (Acts 17:30)? What sort of God wants us to do that which he makes impossible for us to do?

      God is not in heaven dishing out faith selectively. That’s not how to read Ephesians 2:8. (I gave my own view on this passage at the top of this thread.) As I say elsewhere, everyone responds to God. And as I say in the post above, unbelief is not passive ignorance. Look at how unbelief is described in the Bible and you will see that unbelief is a work. It is actively resisting the Holy Spirit.

      • Paul, I have actually heard and been scared to death that God preselects some for salvation and some for damnation. I see it as a result of believing pre-destination exclusively outside of free-will. I think Calvanism embraces this and raises some thorny questions.

      • I have heard that too. It’s nonsense. It usually arises from confusion over God’s plan to choose the Gentiles (as well as the Jews). “He chose us (Gentiles)… and predestined us (Gentiles) to adoption” (Eph 1:5). We weren’t an afterthought. It was always God’s plan to do this. When Jesus said, “For God so loved the world” he was making a statement that was radical and scandalous to the Jews. “Surely God only loves us and hates the filthy foreigner?” “Nope, he loves everyone.” Red and yellow, black and white, we’re all precious in his sight. Jesus said so and so did the apostles.

      • In reply to the January 28 comment… (I don’t see a reply option)

        Amen! Predestination perplexes many in the body of Christ, but it doesn’t have to. The New Covenant baffled Paul’s kinsmen, the religious Jews. They just couldn’t let go of the Old Covenant. If they could only see the superiority of what the Lord Jesus accomplished for them, they would recognize the Old’s inferiority and dropped it like a bad habit just like the apostle Paul did. The Old Covenant is a Law, fleshly, sacrificial, religious covenant, and those chosen for it are the Jews. It offered only a way to relate to God in this realm/kingdom. The New Covenant, however, is a Grace, spiritual, everything is already done, faith covenant, and those chosen for it are those in Christ. It offers a way to relate to God in His realm/kingdom. There are 2 realms/realities coexisting and we must become aware of this to understand most of the new testament writings. In this seen, temporary, worldly realm – there is a past present and future. In the unseen, eternal, heavenly realm – there is only now. The apostle Paul often wrote from the perspective of the higher, ultimate, truer, realm where our spirit union with Christ is. That’s why when he writes about our status as Christians, our “is”, “was”, and “will be” get blended all together. From the spiritual heavenly kingdom perspective Christ was slain before the foundation of the world and we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. None of us are predetermined against our free will to be excluded for God’s salvation. The bad news is Grace is the only way to get in. The good news is it’s the easiest way to get in… all it takes is belief, and the invitation is to everyone!

    • The love/grace/faith that God gives is freely available to all. There are a couple of things I can think of as to why someone would not want to receive it (or keep their eyes closed). One is they may (wrongly) think by accepting God’s gift they will owe Him something in return (like giving up all forms of fun 😉 ). The other is they don’t want to admit they have a need for God (“I can do this myself”). Both require an active refusal of God’s provision. 

      Jesus knocks at the door of everyone’s heart. If we’ll answer, God’s supply of love, grace, and faith will come rushing in, flowing to us like a huge river. To stop the flow is hard work in the form of worrying or relying on our own knowledge and efforts. But, if we just let go and rest in Him, His supply of everything we need is flowing freely and abundantly.

  26. The religion I grew up with was Jesus died for you (I think because you are bad and God has to punish you but Jesus took your place). You should feel bad for what Jesus did for you by dying for you and you should spend your life in service to him for what he did for you, even if you don’t want to. And if your not serving him at church, you don’t appreciate what he’s done for you and your spoiled and selfish and you only care about yourself. Faith is a rest and you do trust God that Jesus died for you but get to work for God and all he’s done for you. They use guilt as a motivator.

    • I used to be afraid of the Blood for this very reason. The good news was the best news in the world that I never heard.

    • Very similar to my beliefs growing up. Tweak it a little to read: if you don’t give all and sacrifice all and work out your faith, you may not actually have it.’ To be fair, my church wasn’t acting this way, but this is what I put together from what I heard in sermons and my own Bible reading.

  27. Aitee Abraham // August 22, 2013 at 3:14 am // Reply

    l told you about your concept of grace that will affect your view of faith.You are not 100% wrong neither are you 100% right we are all growing in grace together.

  28. Paul. I understand how you feel. I find Gods judgements unsearchable and his ways past finding out. I am at loss to understand. Why does he still find fault, for who has resisted his will. Does not God have power over us, from the same lump to make one vessel for honour and another for dishonour?

  29. Paul, I have never felt God’s love nor presence in my life and I know that you need to have faith to be saved. Does this mean that I don’t have faith? That I am not saved?

    • Be assured that you are saved by believing in and confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior (Rom 10:9, Jn 3:16). Even if you haven’t felt it yet, God loves you very much. So much that He sacrificed His Son, Jesus to have a relationship with you (Rom 5:8, Rom 8:39, 1 Jn 4:10). Feelings have good days and bad days, but God’s word never changes. As you meditate on these scriptures and others concerning the completed work of Jesus, you’ll experience God’s love in a new way. God bless you! 🙂

    • Lynn, do you confess Jesus as Lord? If so, then rejoice for you would not be able to do so except the Holy Spirit had shown you this (see 1 Cor 12:3). One reason why some people don’t feel God’s love is they have been told they must earn it through performance. I don’t know if this applies in your case, but the truth is your heavenly Father loves you deeply. In addition to meditating on his promises, as LJP recommends, I would also suggest you just ask him to reveal his love to you. He will!

      • I have “asked” for as long as I can remember, just like the Bible says since I was a very little girl. That is why I am not sure I “believe” or have the “faith” as I have so many doubts:( I know Jesus lived. Died a horrific death on the cross for humanity. But I for some reason can’t personally feel it was for me. Even though I know on some level it must be. But if I truly believed that I should be shouting it from the mountain tops not searching and “trying to find” God”. I feel so lost.

      • Lynn, there may be 2 issues here: (1) Salvation is something to be believed, rather than felt. If Jesus is your Lord, you are saved. Period. He will never let you go. If there was no possibility of doubt, there would be no need for faith. Salvation is not something to ask for, but something to receive. Don’t base your faith on how you are feeling but on who God is and what he has done. (2) Feelings follow faith. As you settle this in your heart, that Jesus is who he says he is, your mind and emotions will respond.

        From the little you’ve told me, it seems – and I may be wrong – that your mind is taking the lead. Nothing wrong with a good mind, but we are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. If your mind throws up a question, give it to the Holy Spirit and let him guide you into all truth. I’ve written more about the good news and how we respond to it here. I hope this helps.

    • I think Paul covered it Lynn,feelings are fickled.I would have to say,that since this has been with you since you were a child, the lord has been with you or drawing you all this time. something Andrew Wommack said always stuck with me,[if your worried about whether your saved,then you are saved, because people who not are going to hell and they dont care]

      • John Goddard // August 24, 2013 at 5:03 am //

        “if you’re worried about being saved, you are” –Really? Surely the doubting or worrying believer IS saved. But worrying is not some indicator–in fact it is a barrier to intimacy with God.

      • bingo john,the point is worrying etc,blocks intimacy with God,i guess what im saying is the fact that if you are concerned about your salvation,would indicate to me that there is a drawing or acceptance of Christ, already there. whatever the enemy can do to make you doubt, he does,and a person who doesn’t care, it makes no difference any way. Ive have met people who could care less about salvation,which is no surprise… thinking of the story J prince tells about the hunter who shoots at birds,kills a couple, wounds a couple, and some get away,the hunter is not worryed about the dead birds,he is going after the live and wounded birds.i hope im making sense, or am i confusing things more.

      • John Goddard // August 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm //

        I think you are making sense. I do think though that even those who aren’t necessarily drawing towards Christ can feel worried about their salvation–particularly in regions/places where they have never heard of Christ. There is an existential crisis among many including fear of death which is intricately connected to the fear that what’s next may not be good for them.

      • when is Jesus the lord of a man so that he will be saved?
        if the finished work of Christ at Calvary did not applied to every one until they believe and confess the lordship of Christ then what happen to a baby who died? or a man that died without believing?

  30. Nadine Smith // August 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm // Reply

    Hello, Paul this is my first time on your blog 🙂 I have a question regarding grace and faith, how should John 6:44 and John 6:65 be interpreted? I’ve been stuck on those 2 verses and the thought of predestination/election. I’m not sure which umbrella I fall under because I don’t consider myself a Calvinist.

    • John 6:44 sets the condition for salvation: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” Since Jesus and the Father are so closely united, this is the same as saying, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (Joh 14:6).

      In either case, John 12:32 reveals the fulfillment of the condition: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.”

      Jesus is attractive. He is the beauty that saves the world. Personally, I find him irresistible. Yet not all do. Although Jesus draws all, some refuse to to be drawn. (This is why I say unbelief is a work.) Although the light has come into the world, some prefer the darkness.

      • John Goddard // August 24, 2013 at 5:15 am //

        Does Jesus ever stop drawing? Does the shepherd stop looking for his sheep? Even the stubborn who refuse?

      • @ John Goddard:
        The answer is “no”. Not even if you walk out on Him and tell Him to “consider this a divorce”! Praise Him for that, else I would have been lost. Back in the 1990’s I was in a church where the pastor was under condemnation and did not know how to accept GRACE into his life, and subsequently, the congregation was under condemnation also. I was verbally “stoned” for being divorced, and I walked out on god, “divorcing” Him also. I turned to paganism, became a witch (or so I thought) and served foreign deities. I tried my best to be “dedicated pagan”, but the love of God kept drawing me, until out of desperation I started searching the web for the truth about both religions (paganism and Christianity). The Holy Spirit led me to explore the website of Joseph Prince, where I discovered the true Gospel of GRACE, and the rest is history. In all the seven years that I had my back turned on God, He never left me. Even in those circles of witchcraft I could feel Him.. God never leaves, nor forsakes you, and that’s a fact to which I can testify.
        God bless!

      • I’m extremely late to this blog post but found it helpful. I’ve been a professing believer for years but over the last several months have been very anxious regarding my faith. It seems as though I’ve been mentally ascending to the Person & Work of Christ but that heartfelt faith might not be there. I’ve been seeing it wrongly as something I have to work up and or feel and I’ve been extremely discouraged. I’ve been diagnosed with religious OCD so I’m constantly looking up whether I’m in the faith or not and ruminating introspectively. I’m extremely tired and want to just be in Jesus’ arms. I feel like I’m getting it all wrong. I’m constantly in my thoughts or feelings and desire to be in faith more than anything.

  31. There was a question close to the top of the comment chain asking why there are so many different interpritations of bible passages and such. The short answer is the starting points or foundations for interpritation are different. In simple terms our basis to build our belief system on and interprit scripture is the person and work of Jesus on our befalf. Sit down and study the bible through some other point of reference and who knows what you will come up with. Granted, there are different views on who Jesus is and what he did as the starting point. But there is truth! It is revealed by God and discovered by us. Different starting points will yield different belief systems and teachings and denominations etc. If we begin with the foundation of Christ’s work for us, and who we are in Him, and who He is in and through us, then our filter for interpriting scripture is in place. This is basically the point of view all Paul’s post are written from and why they are so good and touch so many readers. So again, its all about the starting point.

    Thank you Paul for teaching the gospel with nothing added or subtracted!

    • That’s a great point Jason. Thank you Holy Spirit for clarifying this. Many ask this question and our God hit the nail on the head (no pun intended). Starting point and ending point. What good news!!! Jesus said He is the author and finisher of our faith.

  32. Hi Paul, please give me your thoughts on James 2:17. Thank you.

    • If you enter the keyword “James” into the search box at the top of this page, you will find some relevant posts. And if that doesn’t work, try “faith” and “works.” Thanks.

  33. I love reading your posts and they are so encouraging instead of most things that I hear that make you feel even worse about yourself than you even imagined. I wish you had your posts in Russian as well so that my friends could read it too.

  34. Totally awesome article Paul! Thanks for posting!

  35. Just to comment on Ephesians 2:8 as Draydon has been referencing, the verse is actually talking about SALVATION being the gift of God. Look at the Amplified Bible:

    Ephesians 2:8 Amplified Bible (AMP)

    8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved ([a]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;

  36. David Habanji // October 5, 2015 at 10:06 pm // Reply

    Totally awesome thanks Paul

  37. Hi Paul,

    I was just wondering about one thing: Jesus said in Matthew 7:15,16 (possibly referring to the same people he talks about in verse 23) that “we would know them by their fruits”. That is, Jesus told us that we would be able to tell a true teacher from a false one by looking at some external evidence, right? Do you have any clue as to what would that be? It’s a little confusing, because people being set free and healed are considered signs of good fruit, isn’t it? But, since false teachers might operate on those (which is also a little weird considering Mt 7:18), what then would be the fruits that would make us tell a true teacher from a false one?

    Thank you very much. God bless you, brother


    • I talk about that scripture in this recent post. Those guys were bragging about their works, not their fruit. Jesus says of them that they were ravenous wolves, meaning they were in the business of extortion. Jesus never did that. The fruit of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

  38. “The question is not why God only gives faith to some, but why some walk around with their eyes shut in the daytime.”
    Paul, can’t you see these are the same question?
    Blessings brother.

  39. Michael Nicholas // December 7, 2015 at 10:19 am // Reply

    Thank you Paul

  40. Paul, I enjoy your insight. My friend and I talk about and share your stuff on social media often. What do you think about the idea that we have the same faith as Christ and that when it seems like we are lacking faith it is merely our unbelief or absence of use of faith. It really seems confusing. I feel like we can have belief and doubt at the same time, yet we always have the faith of Christ in us. Faith is a fruit. Faith is a gift. Do you have any insight on the issue of our faith vs the faith of Jesus that has been given to us?

  41. Brilliantly written article! Thank you

  42. Roshan J Easo // January 9, 2017 at 12:34 am // Reply

    This has a been a struggle for me but you’ve provided helpers. I do sometimes think of grace like it’s got a price-tag or not a rest. I see now that some try to blend being a sinner and a saint at the same time. they feel obliged to their relationships. they need help.

  43. It is such good news. Amen

  44. So amazing. Your teaching has been a huge blessing to me. Thank you

  45. Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” KJV I once was taught that faith came Gal 3:23. It is not our faith that saves us it was the Faith of Jesus Christ. Until I did a word study in greek the Pauline epistles were confusing (religion) as to whose faith saved me. Our can’t it is not “faith in” Jesus but the FAITH of Jesus. Due how God made reality, love will not force you or kidnap you. That faith is not of ourselves because we could not believe like Jesus. But we can believe He did it all. Eph 1:11, 12 says we were sealed with the holy spirit, SAVED! when we hear and believed. That part we did. But the Faith of Jesus is what saved us not our faith.

    • AMEN TO THAT TruthProspector! A great relief to discover that my ‘mustard seed’ faith needs only to be added to HIS power and thus its HIS faith that produces results! Before I knew this, faith was the opposite of rest because I never stopped working to attain it!

      Ephesians 1:19 and what is the exceeding greatness of HIS power toward us who believe, according to the working of HIS mighty power.

  46. Faith is a rest until a preacher says you have to do smth. Only today I heard an online message of a famous US pastor who called believers to examine yourself, using “many will say to me Lord, Lord” and “demons believe”, and basically said faith is not enough, you have to ‘submit your will to the Lord’ and there has to be clear change. He gave himself as an example of growing up in church and ‘believing’ but still doing drugs, and only when he “submitted his will to the Lord” he felt no desire for drugs. Such messages don’t cause us to rest in Jesus’s finished work but gaze at ourselves where we can’t find answers. It sent me into a down spiral of fear & anxiety re salvation because we may not experience a drastic change upon salvation and then doubt ourselves, thinking the Lord doesn’t know us. Rest is only possible when our eyes are not dragged back onto ourselves by those who are supposed to feed us.

  47. Paul, the “everyone is already saved (and healed) whether they believe it or not” teaching…..we have to get to the truth otherwise how can anyone go preach the gospel?! As I understand it, Jesus paid in full for the sins of the world. That is the truth whether people believe it or not. But we know that to benefit from it, people must believe and take ownership of what is already available, to be saved. So, saying everyone is saved whether they believe it or not should maybe be corrected with something like “the table is set, the food is already there, but you need to eat it to benefit”?? is actually confusing…because that saying is true but not said correctly??
    Man, why can a simple truth be so hard to get??!!!!! I don’t have confidence to preach the gospel if I am not sure what is actually correct!!

    Thank you so much for your posts!!!

  48. In Hebrews talk about entering that rest is that referring to the sabbath day? I remember there is a verse in Hebrews that talk about a sabbath day for the people of God and something like those enter that rest from his own work. Is that meaning that those who follow the sabbath commandment are the only ones that can rest?

  49. These truths were beautifully communicated! Thank you.

  50. Paul, would you please pray for my deliverance and healing from the doubt, anxiety/ocd, and depression that is on me for some time? I struggle to know if I have come to receive Jesus’s salvation and am His child, often I’m confused on it and I fear I am trying with self righteous attempts and don’t fully realize and won’t see it before it’s eternally too late. I just finished your book of the 10 word of the gospel, and want to receive and live out of what you shared, and often pray for a deep revelation of God’s unconditional love and grace to be more real to me. I just know there must be freedom there. Please pray for my healing, as I’m not quite sure how to pray in such faith vs just saying words.

    • I am praying for you, Jared.

    • Hello Jared. Blessings and love to you, my friend. I won’t presume to fully understand your struggle. But be assured I and many others will read your comment posted here and pray for you. You are not alone. In my past I struggled with my own doubts and have heard from many over the years, in one way or another, say things very similar to what you expressed in “I struggle to know if I have come to receive Jesus’s salvation and am His child”. I would like to offer a response that may or may not be helpful.

      Religion (the catastrophically dark glasses through which the fallen mind perceives God) has always sought to employ obedient servants, while Jesus (the brilliantly clear glasses through which our true Father is revealed) has always sought to help us discover our unobstructed existence within the encirclement of their trinitarian fellowship and love. The cross declares for all eternity that Jesus has unflinchingly taken responsibility for his bride and has embraced us at our very, very, very worst. Is salvation really about ‘receiving Jesus into our life’, or is it perhaps more about beginning to believe that it is Jesus who has gone the distance to find us in our religious delusions and RECEIVED US INTO HIS LIFE? Not the good ‘Sunday best’ version of us, but at our worst – fallen, sinful and wicked – in order to unleash the power of the Spirit within us to bring us into the maturity of who we really are and have always been from God’s vantage point. Jesus is not simply a window we peer through to see God. He is a mirror for us to gaze into intently that we might discover the true nature of OUR relationship with our Father – the very relationship Jesus is sharing with us every day from within us. Jared, you and I are God’s address – Jesus has made it so. Be blessed!

      • Jason, thanks for this. How can I begin to believe that He’s received me and that I’m safe forever? I get scared as I’ve often heard that most of the “church” isn’t saved and that Jesus will say “depart from me”, and I don’t want that. I struggle with various sins frequently, and I have these desires and get enticed, yet at the same time I wish I never knew sin. Not sure how to move past “hope so” regarding salvation.

      • Hi Jared. Short answer: Our theology needs to change. (Like the article says, the gospel is true whether we believe it or not.) Longer answer: life is a journey of baby steps that the Holy Spirit is asking us to take with him little by little to learn to walk with Jesus and get to know the Father through his eyes. The bottom line is that the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus within the context of our fallen existence has CHANGED EVERYTHING. It is HIS very relationship and union with his Father that he is determined to share with us and make ours, just as much as it is his. The Church is just those, like you Jared, who have begun to see and get at least a hint of the magnitude of what Jesus accomplished, and who have the privilege of baring witness to this new reality (New Testament) to the rest of the world.

        And by the way, I’m becoming more and more convinced that the “Church” is not made up of those who show up at a building on Sunday. But rather made up of people, who may or may not show up at a building on Sunday, who are just living their lives, loving their children, being there for their friends, working hard at their job to contribute to a better society and so forth – it is our religious way of seeing things that causes us to think the Holy Spirit is not involved in these things, but would get involved in our lives IF we reduce those activities and do more “going to church” stuff. Again, our theology needs to change. And thankfully, Jesus is committed to doing just that. But since this is a relationship thing (we are not robots to program) it’s going to take some time.

    • Hi Jared… I have been on my journey with Christ for over 40 years and have only recently (over the last 5 or so years I would guess) reached a place where I have begun to understand the title of this article, ‘Faith is a rest’. And yet despite saying that, I too am currently going through a severe period of anxiety… almost crippling, due to some external circumstantial issues I won’t bore you with. So I do know how you feel, believe me, and I will pray for you too. BUT (and this is my reason for writing) I have also found, due in no small way to Dr Paul’s teaching on E2R, that my anxiety is relieved while I sit and meditate on God’s Word. I don’t have much space here to expand on this, but to be 100% pragmatic I find that sitting, doing absolutely nothing except with a Bible on my lap with perhaps Ps 62.8 open, and waiting (resting) and pouring out my heart to God has- with practice – brought me into a place where to be a complete and utter surprise (and relief) I find complete rest. Over time, I’ve stopped pouring out my heart and just waited; over time, scriptures have started coming alive and feeding my expectation. Can I suggest you make a determined habit to try this technique? I know that God will meet you if you give Him time.

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